OU Men's Tennis hoping for a comeback
Heather Brown, The Oklahoma Daily
After losing its first match of the season on the road against No. 7 Kentucky, the No. 8 OU men’s tennis team hopes to rebound against No. 17 Tulsa at 5:30 p.m. Friday in Norman.
The Sooners are no strangers to Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane has knocked them out of the NCAA Tournament the last two years, making this match a bit more important than other matches the Sooners will play during the indoor season.
“It’s an in-state rivalry for us,” coach John Roddick said. “Their tennis program has always been very, very strong, so for us that’s obviously one of the biggest matches of the year that we play, just from a close-to-home rivalry standpoint.”
The team looks forward to getting some revenge after the second-round exit, senior Costin Paval said, but the match should be treated just like any other match of the season.
Freshman Axel Llamas agrees with the senior.
“We can say that it means more than other matches because last year they beat us in the NCAA Tournament,” he said. “It’s a big deal, but we just have to play the same, and I’m sure we’re going to win.”
OU beat Tulsa last year during the regular season and hopes to find a way to get the job done again.
“It’s definitely important,” sophomore Dane Webb said. “We always like to beat them, so hopefully we can beat them again.”
Historically, the Sooners are in a good position. In its last three losses, the team has won the next match. OU’s last back-to-back losses came at the end of 2010-11 season when it dropped its last two matches.
After the loss to Kentucky, the Sooners still are confident and remain on the same page.
“I don’t really think we need to change anything other than being a little more focused on the little things,” Paval said. “After that, things will go better.”
Closing out matches and staying aggressive will propel the team into the win column, Webb said.
“Everyone’s been up in a lot of their matches, a couple we’ve ended up losing, a couple have been closer than they needed to be,” he said.
Llamas also thinks the team will improve if it continues to play well and take care of the little things.
The team will focus on the little things this weekend, but it will be no easy task against an in-state rival that has had its number in the postseason.